Rice conservation movement to reach the Metro

PNS — The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) took its advocacy on rice conservation to the Metro Manila through AgriLink 2010, the country’s largest agricultural trade show, at World Trade Center.

PhilRice booth highlighted the Save Rice, Save Lives pledge encouraging rice consumers to commit themselves to conserve rice, and confirm their oath by inking their signature in a colored paper to be placed in a rice vessel. A commitment wall was posted, in which rice consumers attending the exhibit wrote their ways of saving rice.

“We hope that we could influence more people, especially in the urban areas, not to waste rice as their share in country’s bid to rice-self sufficiency by 2013,” Ronilo A. Beronio, PhilRice executive director said.

Beronio said each Filipino wastes 3 tablespoons of cooked rice everyday. This wastage, on the aggregate scale, translates into 480,000 tons of raw rice a year.

“If rice is not wasted, import savings can reach up to P10 billion and can feed 4.3 million hungry Filipinos in a year,” Beronio said.

Proponents of the Save Rice, Save Lives Movement urge households to cook rice enough for the family and to wash rice twice to cut wastage and avoid loss of nutrients.

In a related activity, PhilRice promotes November as National Rice Awareness Month with the theme, “weRice.”

Other than conserving rice, “weRice” creates public awareness on attaining better nutrition through brown rice and helping farmers increase their income from rice farming. These objectives are congruent with the long-term goal of PhilRice that include attaining and sustaining rice self-sufficiency and reducing poverty and malnutrition.